(A friend recently asked for our thoughts about waiting on the Lord. I thought I'd send them along as today's message.)
"Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord" (Psalm 27:14).
By definition, waiting on the Lord involves our seeking His provision for that which we cannot readily obtain by our own labors and application (which themselves are enabled by Him). This involves several factors of faith.
1. First, are we waiting on that which we can confidently believe to be His will? Does our understanding of the grace we expect coincide with the Bible, rightly understood and interpreted? "Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17). Many years ago, I knew a poor misguided lady who spent months every year in expectation that she would win the Reader's Digest sweepstakes as God's provision for her family. She's still waiting until this day, and likely still expecting a bounty that will never come (she currently lives in poverty). She had no Biblical basis for believing that the Lord would make her rich through a worldly gimmick that in so many cases, destroys rather than benefits.
2. Are we willing to be corrected regarding our expectation? "Search me, o God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). We must never preclude the possibility that we can be wrong in our understanding of God and His purposes in our lives. That which may have seemed so obvious and blessed yesterday may look very different in today's light. There is no shame in realizing and confessing to being misguided in our walk with the Lord, including our expectations of His working in our lives.
3. Does our understanding of waiting on the Lord activate or paralyze us spiritually? A true patience, based upon a genuine expectation, always energizes us spiritually to do the will of God readily at hand. "Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise" (Hebrews 10:36). Any correct response to the work of the Lord in our lives, including expectation of future blessing, leads to faithfulness in the present moment, regarding the next step of faith and faithfulness. Waiting on God to do something tomorrow fosters walking with Him today.
4. Do we realize that God may fulfill His promises by leading us to be the means whereby His promises manifest themselves? As in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus, our Heavenly Father often accomplishes Heavenly glories by earthly means. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). God's working on our behalf may involve His enabling a thousand steps of faithfulness on our part rather than some miraculous and instantaneous display of Divine power and provision. We will know that He provided and fulfilled His promises no less by the thousand steps than by the one time display. Maybe more. Our Heavenly Father often answers prayer by whoever is doing the praying, or in the current consideration, He fulfills expectation by whoever is doing the expecting. "Here am I. Send me" (Isaiah 6:8).
5. Do we recognize that God's promises are often fulfilled in different ways than we may expect? Israel missed her Messiah in His first coming because they anticipating a conquering King rather than a suffering Redeemer. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11). As we trust the Lord for His promises to be fulfilled, we do well to keep an eye open to the possibility that God's faithful provision stands directly before us, but in a different form than we anticipated. Pilate said to the Jews, "Behold your king!" (John 19:14). He was absolutely correct in his announcement that God's Messiah had come. But Israel could not and would not see because in His first coming, their King manifested Himself so differently than they desired or expected.
6. Why are we waiting? "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31). True expectation and waiting on the Lord is God-centered. We determine within our hearts that the glory, will, and eternal purposes of God are paramount in our desire to see His promises fulfilled. Indeed, if we cannot maintain this purity of hope and conviction regarding that for which we wait, we must question our expectation.
7. Finally, does the peace of God keep our hearts as we wait no less than His fulfillment will thrill our hearts when it occurs? "Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3). God Himself serves as the fulfillment of our hearts, as opposed to His doings on our behalf. Indeed, we may find that the journey of faith necessitated by waiting on the Lord provides no less glory than His promises fulfilled. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him" commanded the Psalmist (Psalm 37:7). David could not mandate such peace if it were not possible. Certainly it is, and again, we may find the journey no less glorious through Christ than its destination.
"My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him."
Weekly Memory Verse
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."